Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Designer babies- Good or Bad?

Before you make a decision on your approval or disapproval on whether designer babies are really your type of invention, please kindly look at what I have compiled for you. Presenting to you the pros and the cons of the designer babies:

Designer babies, a term used by journalists not scientists, to describe the scenario of the future where genetic technology can be implemented to modify embryos and choose desirable and cosmetic characteristics. Through the advancement of technology, parents are now able to choose the gender of their babies. This can be done via two methods, by sorting a sample of the father's sperm and only fertilizing the egg with a 'male' sperm or 'female' sperm or by Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which is also used to screen out embryos that are likely to have a genetic disease.

However, without doubt that in the near future, it may also be possible to really create 'designer babies' and parents are thus able to have the ability to choose their child's height, eye colour, facial appearances and perhaps intelligence and personality.


Doctors will be able to identify the gender of the embryo after being fertilized for a few days. This can be done through the removal of a single cell of the embryo. The single cell of the embryo would be tested to find out the gender of the embryo. The removal of one cell would not affect the development of the embryo.

This is useful because: Determining the gender of the embryo can help parents that have a medical history of sex-linked diseases to have the opportunity to find out whether their future child has been affected by the disease. For example, genetic diseases like haemophilia and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy are only present in male babies. Upon knowing the results, doctors can help the parents by choosing a healthy female embryo without the faulty gene and implant the embryo into the mother's womb and be brought to term. In most countries, sex selection is only permitted to avoid sex-linked diseases and other deadly diseases. Currently in Britain, it is illegal for parents to select the sex of their child purely for their personal preferences.

Apart from determining the gender of the embryo, PGD is also currently used to screen out embryos that are potentially at risk of having a genetic disease.

This can be helpful because: Concerned parents would be given a chance to choose a healthy embryo to be implanted into the mother's womb after consulting a professional's advice. Families with children that are affected with preventable disease often wished that they had consulted a doctor. Now, with the advancement of medical technology, mothers would be able to conceive healthy babies instead of babies that are prone to deadly disease. This would definitely help families in the long run as they are only required to pay a fee for the procedure of implanting a healthy embryo and would not need to be burdened by the heavy price tag of endless medical treatment upon giving birth to a sickly child. Also, parents would not have to bear the pain and heartache of seeing their child in agony. Genetic enhancement is the key to eliminating deadly diseases in unborn children.

PGD could be a solution to avoid the pointless loss of innocent lives.

This point could be highly suggestive but this does not deny the fact that such events do happen in the world. For over hundreds of years, the slaughtering of innocent babies and female infanticide have occurred at an alarming rate in countries that have a long tradition for the preference of males. This could also be due to the fact that there are countries that restrict the number of children a family should have. Upon knowing that the mother is carrying a foetus of an undesired gender, it could lead to the termination of a pregnancy or the deliberate killing of the baby right after his or her birth. This would definitely be more cruel as compared to rejecting or destroying an embryo of an undesired gender, because the foetus have already begin to develop body parts, thus being considered as a living human.



Designer babies could lead to the further division of the socioeconomic strata.

Having a designer baby requires a large sum of money to be invested so that doctors can produce the ideal child for the parents with all the desirable characteristics and cosmetic appearances. Only the rich would be able to afford the 'luxury' and 'freedom' to choose the features that they want their child to have and this could possibly lead to the invention of a flawless generation of perfect children that are not only born rich but also have a superior advantage over the poorer people, be it in terms of physical attractiveness, fitness or even intelligence. This would intensify the gap between the rich and the poor because the rich simply gets richer and more powerful while the poor remains poor and stuck with their natural traits and abilities. Thus, it would be more challenging and difficulty for them to get out of the rat race as they need to possess higher intelligence and greater abilities to overcome the power class of the designer babies.

Designer babies would further intensify the superficiality in the society.

Today's modern society has been already deeply concerned with their looks, with rising number of people seeking help from plastic surgeons to correct their looks or to make them look more attractive and appealing. Now, with the invention of designer babies and the likelihood for parents to choose the desirable features of their child, it could only lead to human beings to further dwell in the endless chase for the perfect appearance. Designer babies could lead to the overwhelming response of a certain feature that are deem more valuable as compared to other features and the poorer population that are born naturally with that certain undesirable feature would likely be discriminated by others. This could also lead to these normal kids to feel inferior of their appearances, causing them to lose confidence and hope which would lead to a viscous cycle because the rich would just look nicer and better while the poor just stays the same.

Designer babies are not guaranteed a success and it is not a natural process of life.

With all the hopes raised for designer babies, parents that could afford it may be waiting in anticipation for the arrival of the perfect child. But because designer babies are a new invention, there would be no guarantee on whether the child would really be able to have the desirable features that the parents chose. Apart from not fully getting the ideal results, there could also be the possibility that other health complications could arise in the designer babies. What would happen to the child if he/she was not considered perfect to the parents? The parents cannot reject or refund the baby like they could when they do not fancy a designer product after purchasing it. After all, we are talking about a life. Shouldn't parents just appreciate the natural process of having a child and love the child as he/she is? The joy of having children is the excitement and anticipation of wondering what the child would look like and having a bunch of kids that are genetically similar to the parents. Children are gifts from God, regardless of whether they are 'perfect' or not and parents should just appreciate the fact that they are able to have kids and produce human beings that look like them because this could be one of the true values of being a parent.



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July 30, 2013 at 6:51 PM  
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